Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.
1978 Topps #299
Played 1956 – 1963
Managed 1973 – 1990
1970’s Teams: Rangers, Angels, Royals
Managed the Texas Rangers for most of the 1973 season before being replaced by Billy Martin near the end of the season; Served as interim manager of the Angels in 1974, holding down the fort between Bobby Winkles and Dick Williams; Took over the Royals in July 1975, and in his 4.5 seasons at the helm he had three 1st place finishes and two 2nd place finishes
Was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager and GM in 2010; Won the 1982 World Series with the Cardinals, managed in two other World Series and 3 additional division titles; Was the manager of the year in 1982 and 1985
Just for fun, here’s Whitey’s 1961 Post Cereal card:
1973 Topps #565
Played 1962 – 1974
1970’s Teams: Cubs, Cardinals
Drove in the winning run in the 12th inning of the 1970 All-Star Game when his single drove in Pete Rose from second, resulting in the famous play where Rose took out AL catcher Ray Fosse; He won the 1970 NL Comeback Player of the Year Award after hitting .315 with 32 HR and 115 RBI; Was involved in turning a Triple Play vs. the Pirates, 7/2/72
Was a rookie with the infamous 1962 Mets team that lost 120 games
Pitched 2 mop-up innings for the Dodgers in a 1967 game against the Giants, giving up 2 hits and allowing one run (a solo shot by Willie Mays)
1974 Topps #13
Played 1969 – 1975
1970’s Teams: Cardinals, Indians, Phillies
From the August 5, 1974 “People” column of Sports Illustrated:
“Relief Pitcher Tom Hilgendorf of the Cleveland Indians was credited with a save when he dived fully clothed into a swimming pool and rescued 13-year-old Jerry Zaradte. Returning from dinner, Hilgendorf happened to look down and see young Zaradte lying on the bottom of the pool. (He apparently had leg cramps.) It was Hilgendorf’s first swim of the summer. Like other Indian players, he is forbidden to swim during the season.”
Lead the 1973 Indians in Saves
Doubled in his only at-bat in 1969
Appears with the Phillies in 1976 Topps, but he’d pitched his last Major League innings in 1975
1973 Topps #448
Played 1965 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Tigers
Hiller suffered a series of heart attacks in early 1971, was told his career was over and was hired by as a Minor League pitching instructor, but came back to be one of the leading Firemen of the 1970s; In 1973 he was the AL Fireman of the year, the AL Comeback Player of the Year, got Cy Young and MVP votes, lead the league with 65 appearances and set a Major League record with 38 Saves (which is currently good for a 31-way tie for 196th place) ; Set an American League record in 1974 by getting 17 wins in relief; Got the win in Game 4 of the 1972 ALCS against the A’s
Hiller, a native of Toronto, was inducted into the Canadian Baseball HOF in 1985; Holds the Tigers record with 545 games pitched; Set a Major League record by striking out the first 6 batters in a game, 8/6/68; Threw back-to-back shutouts in August, 1967; Threw 9 shutout innings in relief during a 19-inning game that was the second game of a twin bill, 8/23/68; Pitched in the 1968 World Series
Was the winning pitcher in the last game in Original Yankee Stadium, 9/30/73
Was left out of 1972 Topps when it appeared his career was over, but he was in every other 1970s Topps set
1975 Hostess #128
Played 1968 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Phillies, Twins, Brewers
Was an All-Star in 1977 and 1978; Lead the American League with 119 RBI in 1977; Had back-to back 110+ RBI seasons before a rotator cuff injury shortened his career; Hit for the Cycle against the Orioles, 6/4/76; set a Twins record with 4 stolen bases in a game, 6/30/76
Was named to the 1969 Topps All-Star Rookie Team; Was the Blue Jays’ hitting coach from 1992 to 1995
He was a high school teammate of Al Oliver; Was on the Cardinals roster for about a month in November/December, 1972
Appeared in each of the Topps sets in the 1970s; His 1972 card lists him with the Dodgers, but he never played for them in the Majors, instead spending the entire 1972 season in Triple-A; His 1972 and 1973 Topps cards share the same “Looking up at a passing airplane and surrounded by a solid cyan ‘sky'” image; The photo used on his 1977 O-Pee-Chee card is cropped tighter than the same photo on his 1977 Topps card; Hisle’s 1978 card is missing the “stitches” from the little baseball that’s part of the design (thanks to NPBCardGuy for reminding me of this in the comments)
BONUS #1 – MIKE HERSHBERGER, PHANTOM PILOT!!!
Hershberger, Lew Krausse, Ken Sanders and Phil Roof were traded by the A’s to the Seattle Pilots on January 10th, 1970, with Seattle sending Don Mincher and Ron Clark to Oakland. The Pilots moved to Milwaukee just before the season started, so Hershberger never played a regular season game for the Pilots!
BTW, Phil Roof was another “Phantom Pilot” in the 1970 set.
BONUS #2 – DAVE HILTON
I couldn’t find a lot to say about John David “Dave” Hilton, but he had several noteworthy cards that I wanted to share.
First, his very, very expensive rookie card (where he’s listed as John Hilton)
Second, he was on a 1974 WASHINGTON “NAT’L LEA.” card
Hilton was among the first players acquired by the Blue Jays in advance of their first season, and was included in 1977 Topps and O-Pee-Chee… but didn’t make the team and never played for the Jays. (Thanks to reader Bryan for reminding me to include this card)
And at the end of the decade he appeared in the 1979 TCMA Japanese Baseball set.